Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Designing with Web Standards” as Want to Read:
Designing with Web Standards
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Designing with Web Standards

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,118 ratings  ·  79 reviews
You code. And code. And code. You build only to rebuild. You focus on making your site compatible with almost every browser or wireless device ever put out there. Then along comes a new device or a new browser, and you start all over again.

You can get off the merry-go-round.

It's time to stop living in the past and get away from the days of spaghetti code, insanely nested
Paperback, 436 pages
Published May 14th 2003 by New Riders
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Designing with Web Standards, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Designing with Web Standards

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,118 ratings  ·  79 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Designing with Web Standards
Craig Cecil
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computers
Forward-compatibility. Reduced site maintenance. Increased extensibility. More users. And big cost savings. That's what this book is about. Jeffrey Zeldman (of the The Daily Report) leads readers through the why's and hows of building web sites using the established standards of Structure (XHTML), Presentation (CSS), and Behavior (ECMAScript, DOM). Since most web site decision-makers don't yet grasp the significance and business reasons for moving to a pure, standards-based design, Zeldman ...more
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: amateur web developers
Shelves: tech
I heard this book was like web standards Bible. Well... Let's just say I was seriously underwhelmed. Sure enough, it came out a long time ago, when web standards wasn't something every web professional had heard about, and in my humble opinion it should have stayed as 1st edition, if the re-release was going to be as lazy as it turned out to be. I read 3rd edition and it's just ridiculous: a 2009 book talking about IE5, Netscape, table-based layouts, and spending well over hundred of pages on ...more
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Experienced "old-school" web designers, new designers
Jeffrey Zeldman & Ethan Marcotte's Designing with Web Standards (3rd Edition) provides an excellent overview of the issues involved in designing for the web using a modern, standards-based approach. It is by no means a comprehensive treatise on the technologies that must be mastered (that would require 1000s of pages). It does serve admirably as a guide for experienced designers intent on upgrading their skills, or beginners that need an overview of the field.

As such, a significant portion
I have been building websites since tables were the latest and greatest in the web and animated gifs were everywhere.

I have seen some reviews here that think this book is out of date and not relevant and that is the undermine it's importance. Once this book came out I had an argument with employers and clients as to why things had to be done differently because it was finally a discussion of web standards to a much larger audience.

If you are in the web design and development field today it
Michael Halligan
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Skip the first 43 pages if you've never built a website before, they're written as a justification as to why to design with web standards and their arguments range from lame and antiquated like using the cost of T1s as the justification for more concise html to common sense ones that make you think "Yeah, well, Duh. Did I really have to spend 10 minutes reading this argument? I agree, move on".

Correction. The first four chapters of this book are fluffy reasons why to design with web standards.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the issues raised in this book are sort of irrelevant to someone DIY-ing websites, but I still learned a whole ton about semantic markup and how one would effectively incorporate behavioral aspects into web sites. The reason standards based web design is so important, after all, is because in the end it seems to save a lot of time and headache, and so these lessens may prove fruitful. If you read this though prepare to skim past large sections where he rants about how the web was in the ...more
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the moment you decide to make some money by building websites, read this. It's one of those books that you don't borrow from a friend. Buy it, read it and let is somewhere so you can refer back from time to time.
Erin Kissane
Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh come on, I edited it. Like I'm going to give it less than five stars? (It's good.)
May 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The third edition of essential reading for anyone who works on the web.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What can I say, this was a classic in its time. Changed the way web development happened. Unblocked a lot of the nonsense caused by the browser wars. At this point it's probably rather out of date, but great to read for the purpose of the history of the web.
Daniel Schulte
An enjoyable read that got a lot across about web standards. It's a decent high-level overview for web development in general.
Chad Warner
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: web designers
This is one of the most popular web design books, and for good reason. Zeldman has been around the Web for a long time, and his experience shows. This book teaches the concepts, history, and technologies behind web design for beginning and intermediate designers. Its unexpectedly funny; I laughed out loud several times at Zeldmans puns and wordplay.

The book is about why and how to "write structural, semantic markup styled with CSS for sites that are relatively lightweight, portable, findable,
Nov 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Web Developers just setting out to design with web standards
Shelves: web-tech
Jeffrey Zeldman is an icon in the Web Design world. His insights are obviously from experience and compelling. He manages to describe the importance of web standards in a way that the suits should understand and Web designers/developers will appreciate.

This reads like a 2nd edition book. The examples used are dated, although still valid. Often he references the first edition of the book which is a little awkward. The tone is light-hearted, with geeky jokes and comments here and there. It's a
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Zeldman, one of the founders of the Web Standards Project, writes an intelligent and convincing argument for the use of web standards recommending a variety of combinations from XHTML, XML to CSS for different types of website purposes and cases. The book carefully points out flaws in the current model of design and coding, and quickly explains the benefits of creating sites that are forward compatible and pay attention to accessibility. Part 2 and 3 of the book go into great detail about ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-programming
This book (and its companion, Developing with Web Standards) are great resources for the modern web developer. People who have been in the industry for years are prone to carry over methods for dealing with web design issues that do not stand the test of time due to difficulty maintaining such solutions. These two books server to educate both veteran and novice web developers on how to create and maintain websites in such a way that they support rapid development & maintenance while focusing ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barrett by: Craig
Shelves: art-design-web
i'm ashamed how long it took me to finish this one. hell, there's probably a new edition out by now. that said, it was a pretty good overview about how web standards developed, why they're important, and how to sell your boss / client on implementing them. as a web design n00b (as evidenced by the fact that i even used that term), it did go over my head at several points... but even the introduction acknowledged that the book was written for a wide swath of folks: managers, designers, amateurs ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-safari, web
One of the big 'standards-based development guru' books. First half deals with the problems, second deals with solutions using web standards-based approaches. Amusing and easy to read. Some review for those who already know about XHTML, CSS, etc, but still some good points worth learning.

Includes topics on:
standards-based web design, costs of not following standards (duplication of effort, maintenance, user experience, etc), brief history of web standards and practices, intro to XHTML and
Aug 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: old school web developers looking to learn standards-based development
Shelves: webdevelopment
I used to call this book "The Orange Bible". I made my company buy dozens of copies to hand out to developers, managers and executives. If you're still building web sites with tables and font tags, you need to go out right now and get this book (well, get the second edition - it's green). It's a great introduction to web standards for folks at every level of an organization, and has some great tips and tricks.
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Rolling back to 2003 when this book was released, it was a tremendous revelation on how websites could (and should) be designed. This is for web design/web development geeks only, but it delivers the goods on how to code web pages to the published standards and how to make them look good at the same time.

My only objection to this book is that it is dated and there are things we don't have to worry about any more (although new challenges have arisen).
Dave Peticolas
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it

A good introduction to the new web standards (XHTML & CSS), why you should use them in your websites, and how you can get started. Zeldman is an entertaining writer, though he sometimes overbears when it comes to pressing the case for standards. Perhaps his primary audience (web designers used to hacky html) need this sort of jackhammer treatment.

Anyway, after reading this book I'm looking forward to redesigning my site.

Oct 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: geek-stuff
This book was a good introduction to XHTML and CSS. It sketched a broad and intelligible overview of the technologies, history, and application of web standards in general.

It's biggest weakness? Depth. I needed a second book to really get myself flying with both XHTML and CSS. But Zeldman has laid down a good runway with this one.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Jerel by: Matt King
There is not enough space to write everything that I have learned from this book. Suffice to say this is a must read for any person who is or has a desire to write web pages or who is looking for a web designer and why you would want one who uses web standards in their coding. It is in my permanent collection of tech manuals.
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Good stuff. A little bit too much attention to 4.0 browsers, but I'm willing to forgive that since it's a five-year-old book. A great introduction into why web standards increase usability and accessibility (to the able-bodied and disabled alike). I should have waited for the third edition, otherwise: excellent stuff.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, z_2011
Lot of theory and some code to help explain.

This book is a must read if you learned HTML several years ago or if you're just learning it. Otherwise it'll say a lot of what many newer books say and can be skimmed for interesting content or new ammunition to back up why you're building a site the way you are.
Marye odom
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
In the most down to earth narrative tone, get the history of the web development from one of the gods. Fascinating read in its own right, terribly useful if you are designing/building anything for the web.
zeldman is classy & straightforward. read by programmers, supernerds, and ignorant wanna-be html geeks like myself, this book has broad appeal as well as detailed precision- an unusual, and crucial, mix.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
For anyone who want to know about the web standard or the CSS standard, this is the book. In 'Designing with Web Standards', you will find the css/web definition, general css rules and the standard. This is not a tutorial book or a step-by-step book. To me, it is a reference book for CSS Standard.
Carlos Rioja
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
While I enjoyed "Principles of Web Design" as a good introduction to Web Design, I found this one superfluous, more like an update of the previous book according to the new standards. As a first book, it would be OK, but, me coming from the previous one, getting this felt a bit of a waste.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
You know you've crossed the point of no return into nerdhood when you find yourself cackling over code examples in a Jeffrey Zeldman book at 11pm on a Saturday night. Yup, that's me, and this book is great.
Greg Mathews
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, programming
I got the 2nd version from the library and a lot of it was out of date as you imagine. I skipped through a lot of the stuff that was talking about how to cater to IE5 and netscape. Overall a good book for general web standards!
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Web Application
  • Mobile First
  • HTML5 for Web Designers
  • Agile Web Development with Rails: A Pragmatic Guide
  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
  • Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks
  • Designing for Emotion
  • The Elements of Content Strategy
  • Design Is a Job
  • Content Strategy for the Web
  • Responsive Web Design
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  • CSS3 For Web Designers
  • Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
  • A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making
  • CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
  • Sketching User Experiences:  Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
  • Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
King of Web StandardsBloomberg Businessweek.

Blogging since 1995. Founder & Publisher, A List Apart for people who make websites (since 1998). Co-founded the multi-city user experience design conference An Event Apart with Eric Meyer. Founder of studio.zeldman, a web and interaction design studio in New York. Founder Emeritus of Happy Cog, an award winning digital design studio. Publisher and

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
48 likes · 19 comments